(Their website: Uhurunews.com)
Without taking any side in their argument (that Barack Obama has not been outspoken enough about racial injustice issues in his campaign), I'd like to point out that the protest, performed with taste and decorum (as far as such interruptions go), gave Obama the opportunity to show the world how he responds to direct challenges; by not missing a beat, keeping his cool, allowing their voice to be heard, directly answering them, and maintaining civility and calm at the event.
Links and blockquotes below the fold.
This is the closest I can come to a transcript, from Town Hall's Amanda Carpenter
At the end of his speech, Obama gave one of the IPDM members a chance to speak and ask a question. Diop Olugbulu asked Obama: "In the face of the numerous attacks that are made against the African community or the black community by the same US government that you aspire to lead - and we are talking about attacks like the sub prime mortgage that you spoke of - it wasn't just a general ambiguous kind of phenomena, a phenomena that targeted the African community and Latino community, attacks like the killing of Sean Bell by the New York police department and right here in St. Petersburg by the St. Petersburg police, and Jena 6 and Hurricane Katrina, and the list goes on. In the face of all these attacks that are clearly being made on the African community, why is it that you have not had the ability to not one time speak to the interests and even speak on the behalf of the oppressed and exploited African community or Black community in this country?"
Many members of the audience booed Olugbulu, but Obama asked them to "respect him" and said "he has a legitimate question."
Obama reminded Olugbulu he has made many statements about the issues raised by the activist. "I passed the first racial profiling legislation in Illinois," Obama said.
He ended by telling Olugbulu "That doesn’t mean I’m always going to say what you want me to say, which gives you the option of voting for somebody else or run for office yourself."
This incident presents the "fringe" left as something "not-Obama," which could only be helpful in the minds of some reluctant (and also probably poorly informed) undecideds.
Not only that, Obama in no way diminished the concerns of the protesters, basically agreeing with all their core issues, agreeing that these were serious problems. He simply refuted that he's not outspoken on the issues.
Can you imagine what would happen to the protesters (same ones, hypothetically) if they tried this at a McCain Event?
Note: I have taken pains to not make a judgment on the commenter's comments, but only to report how the event helps Obama's image.
And its a bonus that Diop Olugbulu got to make his points and bring national attention to these problems. I'm sure that their website hits are way up. A win-win all around.
Here's the video:
<iframe height="339" width="425" src="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22425001/vp/25967845#25967845" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe>
And, of course, a poll: